The Early Years
The school that was destined to become Pelham was originally advertised as the Christie Road School — Christieweg Skool. It was scheduled to open on the 25th January 1956. The principal appointed was Mr. G.H. Scott.
The Badge and School Song
Because Pietermaritzburg is surrounded by hills it was fitting that the 121st Psalm "I will lift up my eyes unto the hills" should have been chosen as the school Psalm. The associate Professor of Classics at Natal University, Prof. Farret, offered 'AD COLLES' as the most suitable translation of "Unto the Hills" which was the school motto. The school song is linked to the 121st Psalm. Prof. Heath drew a badge incorporating the heraldic symbol for hills — maroon on a turquoise background. This seemed a little stark and, with Prof. Heath's agreement, Mrs. Dorothy Nicholson super-imposed a Natal Wildebeest in silver — a badge with which everyone was happy.
Until 1967 the enrolment was from Class 1 to Standard 5 and worked very well. Education policy changed to allow for Junior Primary School for Class 1, Class 2 and Standard 1 pupils. The Ridge Junior Primary School was to be established in the Pelham area. Mrs. Schoeman who had been the Senior Assistant Teacher in the Classes 1 and 2 section had been seconded to the Junior Primary Department of the Natal Training College. From there she was appointed founder Principal of the Ridge Junior Primary School. An old house and fairly extensive grounds had been acquired not very far from Pelham. It had been decided that the Pelham Class 1 classes would attend Ridge from 1967, the Class 2 classes from 1968 and finally the Standard 1s from 1969.
Mr. and Mrs. Scott studied the various colour combinations of other schools' uniforms. The Principal, as was his privilege, chose the colours — turquoise and maroon.
For inter-house competition in Athletics and Swimming, the pupils were originally divided into three houses, Impala, Kudu and Zebra. When increasing numbers required division into four houses as all pupils would have to be moved and re-divided, the Principal and staff felt it would be better to discard the old names. After much debate the names chosen were those of the roads adjoining the school — Bromhead, Christie, Clark and Melville.
The first school concert took place in 1957. This was held on the tarmac drive in front of the school and the audience sat on the bank facing the front entrance. The following year a complete stage with curtains, tarpaulin roof and sides was erected by builder parents. Lighting was installed by electrician parents. Parent support was tremendous.